FINAL FANTASY SPOILERS AHEAD
Final Fantasy 16's Cidolfus Telamon inherits the legacy of every Cid who came before him, which is huge. Cid has played some role, however small, in almost every single mainline and spin-off Final Fantasy game. Cid is as big of a defining factor for a Final Fantasy game as chocobos, magic, summons, moogles, and more, and no game is complete without the typical engineer.
In a way, this Cid broke massive traditions in Final Fantasy 16 by passing on that name, his legacy of Cid the Outlaw, to protagonist Clive. In fact, Cid's actions and character are so noteworthy that he has catapulted in popularity, and indeed, it's worth looking at all the Cids that came before him. NOTE: For the sake of clarity and brevity, this article only discusses Cids of mainline Final Fantasy games.
These Cids represent the best of the best, those who have played a major role in the game and define what it means to be Cid (either upholding that legacy or breaking it in unique ways).
- Cidolfus Telamon (FF16) - Dominant of Ramuh whose name as Cid The Outlaw is a literal icon in Valisthea, this rough and rugged ladies' man highlights the best of the best of Cids. He's smart and wise, he's charming, and he plays a huge role in the story of Final Fantasy 16. Fans latched onto him quickly, for good reason.
- Cid Pollendina (FF4) - Final Fantasy 2 may have established Cid, but Final Fantasy 4 makes him playable with a more engaging story to boot. This is perhaps the best representation for early Cids, as he was once the head of Baron's corps of Engineers, he designs the airships that play a major role in the games, is associated with the awesome Red Wings corp, and later joins the Final Fantasy 4 party led by Cecil, becoming the first playable Cid in the franchise.
- Cid Highwind (FF7) - Cid Highwind of Final Fantasy 7 takes everything previous Cids built up and embodies it perfectly. This Cid is likely the one most imagined when talking about Cids in the franchise, and one playthrough of the classic FF7 game proves why. In fact, it'll be interesting to see how Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth tackles Cid because it's going to have a huge impact on his legacy.
- Dr Cidolfus Demen Bunansa (FF12) - While the other S Tier Cids are noteworthy for building the legacy of Cid, Final Fantasy 12's Cid is noteworthy for dismantling the legacy. Twelve mainline games into the franchise, Dr Cid is the first Cid-antagonist who uses his mechanical genius against the party. He creates the Sky Fortress Bahamut and serves as recurring, engaging, and witty antagonist. He's not the main antagonist of the game, but the Empire would not be the superpower it is without his inventions, showing just how versatile the core elements of Cid are.
These Cids may not be as iconic as Cids in the S Tier, but they more than pull their weight in representing the name.
- The Original Cid (FF2) - A legacy is only as strong as the one who starts it, and Final Fantasy 2's 'Original Cid' quickly defines what it means to a Cid. His mechanic tendencies, association with airships, and otherwise rogueish nature would set the tone for later Cids in the franchise, although many Cids would do all of this much better than the OG.
- Cid Haze (FF3) - While lacking a little in the design department, Cid Haze plays a solid role in the story and continues the emphasis on airships. He is even able to help players out in the FF3 DS Remake, and it's easy to see how he takes the name and continues its legacy. Cid Haze just slightly falls short of the icon status seen in the S Tier.
- Cid nan Garlond (FF14) - This Cid embodies the mechanical aspect of the character to a T, in design and story, and he's as endearing as any of the Cids. This is a Cid that anyone, knowing the few attributes of a Cid, would easily point out.
These Cids play a role in their overall legacy, but are not quite as strong in character, representation, or in the story as other Cids.
- Cid Del Norte Marguez (FF6) - The scientific advances of this Cid as the creator Magitek enables the Gestahlian Empire's rise to power before realizing this was a huge mistake. This Cid is a solid addition, as a kind, caring man with many faults, and association with science. He's not as forgettable as those on the C tier, though he's not as memorable as those on the A Tier. He also breaks from a slight tradition because he's not associated with airships so much as engineering in general, though of course, that element fluctuates depending on the setting of the Final Fantasy game.
- Cid (FF10) - While Final Fantasy 10 is arguably one of the best games in the franchise, its depiction of Cid is more split. He's very much a character some love, some hate, and some hate to love. His association with building the Al Bhed base and his machina airships earn him the name, but his personality and story vary on mileage.
- Cid Raines (FF13) - Cid Raines finds himself the commander of an airship, but aside from that, he doesn't contribute as much as other Cids to the legacy. Perhaps because of Final Fantasy 13's deviation from the franchise, too, Cid just doesn't strike the same design chords that make the character so iconic.
- Cid Sophiar (FF15) - Given this entry's emphasis on generations of friends, it's fitting that Cid largely takes a backseat to his granddaughter Cindy in Final Fantasy 15, as many see her as the actual Cid of the game (but unfortunately this has never been confirmed). A lot of grandpa Cid's claim to the name comes down to his past association with Noctis' father and the mechanical elements, and he is a strong Cid - just not necessarily when compared.
These Cids hardly contribute to the legacy and are not likely to come to mind when the name is mentioned.
- Cid of the Lufaine (FF) - The original Final Fantasy game did not have a Cid until a remake added a mention of the character. This was designed only to expand the legacy, but does not contribute a lot to it. This Cid is simply described as Final Fantasy 1's airship creator.
- Cid Previa (FF5) - While he checks all the boxes on the Cid checklist for Final Fantasy games, he's largely overshadowed and unremarkable.
- Cid Kramer (FF8) - As a caring headmaster and founder of SeeD, Cid Kramer is truly a likable Cid. He just sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to other Cids, really showing how important a Final Fantasy game's setting is to its core elements, like Cid.
- Cid Fabool IX (FF9) - While Cid plays a huge role in Final Fantasy 9's story, he's not quite likable. He is the leader of a city of engineers, but he is arrogant and rude more often than he is kind, often dragging down the party with his complaints. He gets transformed into a bug because he cheated on his wife, which is just not very Cid-like.
- Cid (FF11) - Final Fantasy 11's take on Cid is a bit generic. He fits the bill, but he doesn't do much to earn the name.
Final Fantasy 16 is available now on PS5.